Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between VNC and Remote Desktop

desktop_deployment_bookVNC vs. Remote Desktop

Remote Desktop is a term that is commonly used to refer to a type of software used to connect to a remote computer, with the intent of running other applications, or executing commands on that computer. The commands, keystrokes and clicks are sent to the remote computer, which will send images of how the desktop looks to the user. Virtual Network Computing, or VNC, is one of these software types, and provides the same functionality. Although remote desktop is a general term, some software, like Apple remote desktop and Windows’ remote desktop protocol, carry the term in their names, and have become synonymous to these software in some communities.

With regards to the software stated above, they are integrated to the operating system, and are restricted to their respective operating systems. In comparison, VNC is a cross platform software, so you can use a Windows box to control an Apple box, and vice versa. You can even use VNC on other operating systems, like Linux. Another side-effect of being integrated to the operating system, is the optimization that it receives. VNC often performs a bit slower compared to the remote desktop software bundled in the operating system.

A fault found on most variants of VNC, is the lack of security. VNC is inherently unsecure, and data that is being sent across the network can be sniffed and pieced together by anyone with the right tools and knowledge. To secure a VNC connection, most people use SSH or a VPN tunnel to provide the security. Remote desktop software, like the ones mentioned above, have included encryption mechanisms to eliminate the need for tunneling, without exposing sensitive information to the outside world. This also prevents other people from obtaining your username and password, and taking control of your remote system.

Choosing the right remote desktop software, should simply depend on which operating system you are using. If you only connect to other computers with the same operating system, then it is better to stick with the provided software, but if you do connect to different operating systems, then VNC is an excellent option.


1. Remote Desktop refers to a type of software that allows the manipulation of a remote system, and VNC is Remote Desktop software.

2. VNC is a cross platform application, while most software that have Remote Desktop in their names are specific to certain operating systems.

3. Remote Desktop software often performs faster than VNC.

4. VNC is an inherently unsecure software, while other Remote Desktop software are already secure.

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  1. Yes, VNC is not that secure since inbound TCP ports need to be opened for remote access, which may pose a security threat. There are remote access solutions such as RHUB TurboMeeting that does not necessitate any kind of changes in firewall settings and it supports multi platforms.

  2. Plain vanilla VNC may be insecure, however, the Enterprise solution from RealVNC we use provides encryption that protects against connection snooping, man-in-the-middle attacks and packet-tampering attacks.

  3. remote and local users are able to view the same screen at the same time, so remote user can assist a local user.Remote Desktop Software is one of the most useful software. I expect amazing application of Remote Desktop Software will increase its productivity next year.

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